BY RICHARD MUPONDE
BUHERA West MP Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) yesterday accused teachers of fronting for the opposition MDC Alliance through their endless industrial action, which he said had destroyed the education sector.
Chinotimba raised the issue as a matter of privilege in Parliament with the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Tsitsi Gezi.
He also alleged that the striking teachers were on the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance payroll and on a mission to make the country ungovernable.
“I rise on a point of privilege on the issue of schoolchildren. I wanted to ask tomorrow (today), but this has become a concern to us. In my opinion, teachers are no longer on strike, but are on an opposition mission,” Chinotimba said.
“Teachers, in my opinion, are on the payroll of the opposition. Our children are not going to school. If they go to school, they are not learning anything.”
The Zanu PF legislator claimed that government had done its best to address teachers’ grievances, but it seemed they wanted to continue with the strike action.
Teachers downed tools in September when schools reopened for examination classes, demanding a US$520 salary which they used to earn during the United States dollar era, but government has ruled out paying US dollar-based salaries.
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The strike has left students unattended, with some reportedly engaging in drug abuse and sexy orgies.
“The teachers are being paid by one of the biggest opposition parties in Zimbabwe to make this nation ungovernable. It is better for the teachers to stay home,” Chinotimba said.
Gezi ruled that Chinotimba should raise his issue in today’s question-and-answer session when Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema will be available to respond to the question.
Norton MP Themba Mliswa (Independent) then demanded that Chinotimba withdraws his accusations against teachers, saying the accusations would send wrong messages to the public about Parliament.
“If his statement that teachers are paid by the opposition is recorded in the Hansard, it will be a problem. It is wrong for this Parliament to be seen to be accusing teachers. My teachers in Norton are not paid by the opposition,” Mliswa said.
Meanwhile, in another matter of privilege, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) demanded that Zanu PF MPs should move a motion in Parliament to prove that sanctions had stifled economic growth.